Could the LPGA and PGA tours start streaming services? In today’s media landscape, it’s not a crazy idea

When Diamond Sports Group, known for its Bally regional sports networks, failed to make its most recent payment to the San Diego Padres this week, a snowball started rolling downhill.

The broadcast rights for San Diego’s games reverted back to the Padres, Major League Baseball took over productions of Padres games and the loud bell that some heard ringing was the death knell of the regional sports network as we have come to know them.

While Padres games are still available through cable or other outlets, it is well known that MLB would like to put all 30 of its teams on some kind of umbrella streaming service. If orange is the new black and 50 is the new 40, streaming services would like to be the new cable. The live sports that once came into your living room for free through the air and later poured out of your television screen with a monthly cable bill are slowly working their way onto streaming platforms for subscription fees.

While an all-encompassing streaming network for MLB might be a long road, such a move would be just another step in the trend of major sports starting to hide some of its products behind the paywalls of streaming services. Cable’s great advantage over streaming has been live sports, with even some teams having their own network. That advantage might be slipping away.

Impossible, you say? Remember that events that seemed like they would stay on the networks forever — think about events like the Rose Bowl — moved to cable decades ago. Could such events find their way to streaming services as cable continues to slide and sports look for new or additional revenue sources?

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Consider for a moment:

  • Apple TV has an exclusive Major League Baseball doubleheader on Friday nights, available only if you pay the monthly subscription fee. That means if, say, the Los Angeles Dodgers are selected for the Apple TV game, that game will not be available that night on SportsNet L.A., the Dodgers’ cable home.

  • The NFL, the king of all sports in the country, announced that one of its wildcard playoffs games this coming season will be broadcast exclusively on a streaming service. That game, on Jan. 13, 2024, will be on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service. So will another wildcard game that day, but at least the second game will also be seen on NBC.

  • The NFL has already moved its Thursday night games to Amazon Prime. The league‘s Sunday Ticket is moving to YouTube this season, giving more fans greater access to out-of-market games.

  • Golf fans already know that early-round play on weekdays and early morning play on weekends are both available on ESPN+ as well as Peacock.

  • Golf fans also know the best way to watch the Masters is, which includes the regular CBS broadcast as well as focus on certain holes or players and featured groups. Some Masters coverage is also on ESPN+.

None of this means the Super Bowl will be an exclusive property of Paramount+ or Peacock anytime soon – at least for now – but it does all point toward a world where team and league control of broadcasts on streaming services is potentially the next evolution for live sports. The NFL, as usual, seems to be ahead of the game.

You can imagine a world where the PGA Tour has its own streaming service, providing on-demand coverage of its events from the regular tour to PGA Tour Champions to the Korn Ferry Tour.

Maybe that would be the way for the LPGA to promote its tour perhaps better than it is treated by other broadcast outlets.

While cord-cutting is eating away at cable’s relevance, streaming services have their own issues. Some, like CNN+, shut down almost before they debuted. All of them cost money, of course, and some offer far more than a viewer actually wants, much like cable. Disney Plus, for instance, can offer Hulu and ESPN+.

Do Mickey Mouse and the PGA Tour attract the same audiences? Chase all the live sports heading to streaming, and suddenly the costs of multiple streaming services begin to approach the cost of cable.

One thing seems certain. More and more live sports will be heading to streaming services in the coming months and years, and complaints from fans about having to subscribe to watch will follow. If you don’t think some major events will head to streaming, just remember when every college bowl game was on a major network, and how all those games moved to cable. The Rose Bowl on Peacock can’t be too many years away.

Larry Bohannan is the golf writer for The Desert Sun, part of the USA Today Network. You can contact him at (760) 778-4633 or at

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek